Three Generations

In the earliest memory I have of my grandmother she stands outside our car waving goodbye to me.  We’ve brought her in our station wagon to the train station.  I am slumped in the backseat and hysterical to be leaving her behind.  My mother comforts me through the rear-view mirror as she turns the steering wheel causing the car to leave. 

Earlier this week my grandmother was put on life support for pneumonia.  When I found out I spent the evening looking for just the right Willie Nelson song to put on.  Irene, that’s her name, loves Willie like my mom loves Van Morrison and I love Ray Lamontagne.  We have a bit of a private romance going on with our musician’s music.  I couldn’t find just the right song.  You were always on my mindjust seemed too sad.  Instead I put on a bluesy rendition of Woodie Guthrie’s Irene Goodnight.   It needed a glass of wine. Then I put on Johnny Cash’s version.  I never discussed with my grandmother how she felt having Johnny Cash sing her name.  Pretty darn good, I bet. 

Today she managed to breath on her own.  I actually heard her voice through the phone – cracky and tired.  It was a good sound.  I was just thinking of her and had put on a Bob Dylan song when my mother called.  “I was just playing you a song,” I told my mother.  “Would you like to talk to grandma?” she asked. 

Best sound of the day: Three generations of women talking on one line. 

For you mom, with love:


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